Gender gap halves since mid-1970s
Full car driving licence holders: by sex, GB
In 2004, 61 per cent of women in Great Britain held a full car driving licence, compared with 81 per cent of men. This compares with 29 per cent of women and 69 per cent of men in 1975-1976.
The number of women holding a full car driving licence more than doubled between 1975-76 and 2004, to 14.4 million. The number of men with a licence rose by only a third over the same period, to 17.9 million.
Men aged between 30 and 59 are the most likely to hold licences. Around nine in ten did so in 2004. Women aged 70 and over were the least likely, with less than three in ten holding a full car driving licence.
Growth in licence holding has slowed in recent years. In 1975-1976, 48 per cent of British residents aged 17 and over held a licence. This grew to 57 per cent in 1985-1986 and 69 per cent in 1996-1998. By 2004 it had levelled out at 70 per cent.
The proportion of young adults holding licences fell over the last decade. Fifty four per cent of men aged 17 to 20 held a licence in 1992-1994, compared with 29 per cent in 2004. Among women aged 17 to 20, these proportions were 42 and 24 per cent respectively. This may be due to the car driving test becoming more difficult, and/or the introduction of the theory element to the test. Test pass rates were 46 per cent among men and 39 per cent among women in 2004/05.
Source: National Travel Survey, Department for Transport